Friday, September 22, 2017

Big Oil Becomes Greener With Progress in Cutting Pollution

Oil majors have been cutting emisisons, with an average decline of 13% from 2010-2015. (Credit: Bloomberg) Click to Enlarge.
It’s no secret that oil majors are among the biggest corporate emitters of pollution.  What may be surprising is that they’re reducing their greenhouse-gas footprints every year, actively participating in a trend that’s swept up most corporate behemoths.

Sixty-two of the world’s 100 largest companies consistently cut their emissions on an annual basis between 2010 and 2015, with an overall 12 percent decline during that period, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance released ahead of its conference in London on Monday.

The findings suggest the most polluting industries had started fighting climate change before President Donald Trump took office and signaled he’d back out of U.S. participation in the Paris accord on limiting fossil fuel emissions.  Now, as European officials say the White House may water down its commitment to Paris instead of scrapping the deal, the BNEF report suggests industry is scaling back the emissions.

“It doesn’t matter if Trump stays in Paris; it’s irrelevant as the states and big corporations are moving forward with clean energy,” Peter Terium, chief executive officer of the German power generator Innogy SE, said on the sidelines of the BNEF conference on Monday.  “They’re not waiting.  We’re seeing renewable energy becoming more and more competitive opposite fossil fuels like coal.”

The five biggest oil companies -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., BP Plc, and Total SA -- collectively curbed their pollution by an average of 13 percent between 2010 and 2015, the report said.  BP cut the most at 25.5 percent.  Exxon, the largest emitter among listed companies, pushed it down by 14 percent.

The report shows a reverse from previous decades, when scientific warnings about climate change were new and the companies behind the most emissions lobbied policymakers to ignore the issue.  As mega-storms like Hurricane Irma this year and Sandy in 2012 raised consciousness about the issue, companies even in the oil business have taken steps to rein in pollution and associate themselves with the green agenda.

The reductions recorded by the 100 top companies saved 70.7 million tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, about as much as Israel emits in a year.  Because emissions data takes so long to compile, 2015 is the latest year covered.

Read more at Big Oil Becomes Greener With Progress in Cutting Pollution

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